I’ve been playing a lot of Ghost Recon : Wildlands recently. It’s a fantastic co-op game – because of Grand Theft Auto.
Thinking about the most exciting times in the game, they all involved Unidad. Unidad is the in-game police force. It fights both enemy NPCs and human players.
The more you fight them, the more of them you fight and their armoury changes. They come with miniguns and helicopters. Soon you’re faced with overwhelming odds.
It’s the wanted/star system from GTA.
But let’s think about what a leap in logic (and technology) it must have been to implement GTA’s wanted system in the first place:
It affects a small set of NPCs
Gives them tools no other NPC has
Affects NPC AI
Introduces dynamic difficulty based on player behaviour
The wanted system breaks the rules of the main game. Can you imagine trying to pitch that in a planning meeting?
Everyone I play with is wary of Unidad. Everyone I play with is worried they’ll get involved and excited when they do.
Because the thing that makes Wildlands – and I think makes any co-op game – is forcing players to deal with overwhelming odds. Because those are the shared moments when co-op play is most important and most difficult.
Whoever invented the wanted system, I salute you.